Russia and India Sign Military Agreement Despite U.S. Threat of Sanctions

Russia and India signed several agreements for military technical cooperation on Monday, Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh announced on Twitter, in a move that could put New Delhi at risk of sanctions from the U.S.

"India deeply appreciates Russia's strong support for India. We hope that our cooperation will bring peace, prosperity and stability to the entire region," wrote Singh. "Glad that a number of Agreements/Contracts/Protocols were signed pertaining to small arms and military cooperation."

Hours earlier, the Indian defense chief and his Russian counterpart, General Sergey Shoigu. held talks in New Delhi ahead of a scheduled Monday evening meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"Had a productive, fruitful and substantial bilateral discussions on defence cooperation with the Russian Defence Minister, General Sergey Shoigu in New Delhi today. India values its special and privileged strategic partnership with Russia," Singh added.

Russia's Ministry of Defense told reporters on Monday that the two countries signed an agreement for military technical cooperation for the next decade, through 2030, Russian news agency TASS reported.

The agreement details cooperation between types and branches of troops, as well as issues of supply and development of weapons and military equipment, according to the news agency.

The two leaders signed an agreement to jointly manufacture over 500,000 AK-203 assault rifles at a factory in Uttar Pradesh's Amethi region, in a contract worth more than $500,000.

"We hope Russia will remain a major partner for India in these challenging circumstances," Singh said on Monday.

Putin and Modi are scheduled to meet for the 21st annual India-Russia summit on Monday evening, during which the pair are expected to sign a number of agreements related to trade and defense.

The Indian Express reported that the two leaders are expected to sign many as ten agreements in the areas of defense and manufacturing, including on helicopters, rifles, defense logistics, oil and space.

The news comes over a year after Washington imposed sanctions on Beijing for purchasing Russian military jets and surface-to-air missiles.

Under a 2017 U.S. law aimed at deterring countries from buying Russian military hardware, called the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), Russia, North Korea and Iran are named as adversaries.

The federal law cites Russia's conduct in Ukraine, interference in the U.S. 2016 elections and aid to Syria, as reason to impose sanctions on partners who purchase Russian military equipment.

Last month, Russia began supplying India with S-400 air defence missile systems it procured under a $5.5 billion deal signed in 2018, citing a threat from China.

"The first supplies have already been started," Russian news agency Interfax cited Dmitry Shugayev, the head of the Russian military cooperation agency, as saying.

Washington last month told New Delhi that it was unlikely to get a waiver from the sanctions law.

Newsweek has contacted the Biden administration for comment.

Russia's Vladimir Putin and India's Narendra Modi
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their meeting at Taj Exotic Hotel on October, 15, 2016 in Benaulim, Goa, India. The pair are set to meet on Monday evening for the 21st annual India-Russia summit. Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images